The annual gathering of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (or NCBFAA), was held in Rancho Mirage, CA, last week. This was the first time I attended not as an everyday practitioner of the craft, but as someone looking to network, introduce the world to me (sound familiar?) and talk to companies about why either they (or their customers) need my services.
Exhibitors at the NCBFAA understand that the people who are there are the decision makers for their companies. Owners, senior managers, long tenured and trusted employees walk the aisles looking at software companies, sureties, government agencies and a host of other service providers. One of the exhibitors was featuring the chance to take pictures with cut-outs of Ann Hathaway or Ben Affleck. I think it turned out quite well.
I was hoping to have had the chance to roll out the new corporate identity and logo for the NCBFAA, entering its 115th year in 2013. It was not meant to be, however a rigorous design and winnowing process has things down to a few exciting looks, and I anticipate that they’ll have an announcement in the coming months and it will be an exciting day.
Because of sequestration, this meeting was different than any other in previous years in that the key government regulators were unable to travel as their travel budgets have been shut down. The only representation from CBP came by car from Los Angeles; and they had to beat a hasty return by 4:00 the same day. Four hours of driving for essential a luncheon, but everyone appreciated their attendance. Teleconferencing was used for a few panels, but there’s no substitute for the chance to privately network and discuss challenges, potential solutions and increase the understanding of each side’s view of the other.
In January at a board meeting in New York, someone asked if there were any actors in the room. Having quite the resume (but no equity card), I immediately raised my hand. Fast forward to the middle of March when I am presented for a script for Grump vs. All Everything Logistics, a mock trial featuring an actual Court of International Trade judge, Judge Leo Gordon. Written primarily by Andrew Spector, it starred quite the cast of characters. Lenny Feldman of Sandler Travis, Frank Desiderio of GDLSK, Andrew Spector of Arnall, Golden Gregory and David Street of GKG Law.
While the attorneys and Judge Gordon did their job, I’m proud to say that I was one of the four witnesses giving testimony in the case. With costume wig in hand, I led the testimony as Donald Grump, CEO of Grump Group, LLC. Joining me in roles were Vince Iacopella of The Janel Group as Arnold Schwarzenplayer, Karma Ruiz of Worldwise Consulting as Jessica Stimpson and Len James of John S. James Co. as Vincent “Vinny” Gambini. I’m finding someplace to post our testimony, and it was raucously and well received. Not so well received I’m going to get a glossy headshot and start attending casting calls, but enough to have made an impression on all the “members of the jury” (the audience) in the room who decided the case. Not completely in my favor.